Stephon Marbury vs. Walt Frazier on TV

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News recounts a conversation the two had on the air a couple of weeks ago, and speculates that if Frazier and Marbury don't see eye to eye, Frazier's job could be in jeapordy. I know it sounds bizarre, but so does a lot of what happens in Knick-land these days. Whether that proves true or not, I take this conversation as evidence of two things: #1 That even for an athlete, Stephon Marbury has some weirdly powerful self-centeredness going on and #2 That Marbury sees himself as having been an important part of Larry Brown's departure.

Let's go back to July 8, when MSG aired a summer league game between the Knicks and Suns.

During this meaningless exercise, Marbury, who came to Las Vegas to "support" his team, joined Frazier and Gus Johnson at the broadcast table. Marbury must have thrilled Knicks fans when he proclaimed: "I don't have anything to prove to anyone. The only person I'm competing against is myself." I'm sure all NBA players also breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that.

Marbury, in an introspective mood, went on to alert viewers that he "became a man" during his public feud with Brown. "I was pro-active," Marbury said. "Somebody told me I went from Gandhi to Malcolm X."

This vivid imagery reflected the self-absorbed path Marbury was driving on. Perhaps sensing that, and not wanting the interview to degenerate any further, Frazier challenged Marbury. Clyde made an excellent point that needed to be made. He reminded Marbury that Brown had put the same kind of verbal heat on Chauncey Billups and Allen Iverson.

"(Brown) always tested guys," Frazier told Marbury. "That's what he was looking for. He wanted to see what you were able to come up with to be a man, to handle it."

Marbury developed a sudden case of amnesia.

"No, I'm not giving (Brown) that much credit," Marbury said. "I'm sorry, Clyde."

Instead of letting Marbury off the hook, Frazier dug in.

"Then where did (the motivation to become a man) come from?" Frazier, his voice raising, asked. "If (Brown) didn't do it...."

Marbury cut off Frazier. "No, I'm not giving (Brown) that much credit," Marbury said. "And I'm not even supposed to be talking about it. He doesn't get that much credit."

Sensing this confrontation could escalate, Johnson sounded relieved to go to commercial.